Gainesville, Fla. – The University of Florida women’s lacrosse team was unanimously chosen to three-peat as BIG EAST champions in the 2017 Preseason Coaches’ Poll, as announced by the conference office Thursday afternoon.
Florida received all nine first-place votes and led the conference with six Preseason All-BIG EAST players. The Orange and Blue also swept Preseason Players of the Year awards: attackers Sammi Burgess and Lindsey Ronbeck were named Preseason Co-Offensive Players of the Year, and defender Caroline Fitzgerald was a unanimous pick for Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.
UConn and Georgetown rounded out the top-three, while newcomers to the BIG EAST, Denver and Butler, came in at fourth and 10th place, respectively.
The Gators are coming off a season in 2016 where they went undefeated in conference play and outscored opponents by 59 goals in seven games. Since joining the conference in 2015, UF has enjoyed a 17-1 record against league foes including BIG EAST Tournament games. Florida’s current 11-game conference win streak is the longest in school history.
Florida returns five of its top six scorers from 2016, along with defensive stalwarts Bresnahan and Fitzgerald. Talented sophomore Haley Hicklen will be taking over in goal after posting 62 saves as a freshman.
Florida, picked No. 3 in the Inside Lacrosse Preseason Rankings, gets the 2017 season started with a clash against defending national champion North Carolina Feb. 11 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
BIG EAST Women’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll
- FLORIDA (9) – 81
- Connecticut – 68
- Georgetown – 63
- Denver – 55
- Temple – 45
- Marquette – 41
- Vanderbilt (1) – 40
- Villanova – 31
- Cincinnati – 17
- Butler – 9
Preseason All-BIG EAST Team
Taylor Bresnahan, Florida, Sr., D
Sammi Burgess, Florida, Sr., A*
Cassie Eckstrom, Connecticut, Jr., D
Caroline Fitzgerald, Florida, Sr., D*
Morgan Glassford, Temple, Sr., M*
Callahan Kent, Vanderbilt, Sr., GK
Allison Lane, Marquette, Jr., M*
Brenda McDermott, Temple, Gr., A
Nicole Martindale, Denver, R-Jr., A
Grace Nolan, Connecticut, Jr., A*
Shayna Pirreca, Florida, Jr., A
Lindsey Ronbeck, Florida, So., A*
Julianna Schearer, Marquette, Sr., A
Mollie Stevens, Florida, Sr., M
Francesca Whitehurst, Georgetown, So., M*
Preseason Defensive Player of the Year
Caroline Fitzgerald, Florida*